Wednesday 30 January 2013

Nimrud and Nimrud

(I'm reading China MiƩville's The City and the City at the moment; can you tell?)

So, a post about two intertwined Nimruds, the ancient Assyrian city of the early first millennium BC and the modern archaeological site in northern Iraq, and about a couple of imminent BISI-sponsored events concerning the two.

(Photos are from my trip to Iraq in March 2001, and show the Tigris river at nearby Assur on a rainy day; and the Nimrud ziggurat being climbed by a particularly vigorous group of assorted Assyriologists. I stayed at the bottom.)

Northern Iraq in the 1950s

First up, at 6pm on Thursday 28 February the redoubtable Dr Joan Oates, FBA will be recalling dig life at and around Nimrud in the 1950s with, amongst others, Sir Max Mallowan (at that time Director of the British School of Archaeology, as was) and his wife Agatha Christie.

The lecture is called "An Archaeologist's View of Northern Iraq in the 1950s" and will be held at The British Academy in central London. Free places can be reserved on the BISI website. Be warned: if you don't book ahead, you may not be able to get in, as there are a limited number of seats available. Jolly reception afterwards too!

Making Archaeological Knowledge, from Mound to Museum

Second, on Saturday 27 April my new AHRC-funded research project on Nimrud will be hosting a BISI study day at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. "Nimrud, from Mound to Museum: Making Knowledge from Archaeological Objects" will seek some answers to the questions, How do archaeological artefacts find their way into gallery cases and museum websites? How do objects found in the ground get transformed into specimens for scientific and historical study? We'll be bringing together a range of academic experts who have been involved in this process, to give their personal stories of making knowledge from objects excavated from the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud.

Speakers confirmed so far include Joan Oates on excavating Nimrud, back in the day; Dr Julian Reade (University of Copenhagen) on re-interpreting old excavations; British Museum conservators Denise Ling and Kathleen Swales on how artefacts from the site are managed in the museum; and Dr Paul Collins of the Ashmolean on how objects are displayed and interpreted for the public.

There's a small charge for this event, to cover catering costs: £5 for BISI members; £10 for the rest of the world. Bookings open any day now on the BISI website.

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